Book Review: Black Swan Green

Black Swan Green                                                                                                          By David Mitchell

2015 has become the year of David Mitchell as I’ve insatiably gobbled up everything the author has written to date. The English writer has rightly become one of the most successful and well known writers of the 21st century for his innovative narratives and entertaining writing style. Every time I pick up a Mitchell book I know it’s going to be good before I even read it; it’s like going to see a generational athlete in his prime, a legendary actor on the screen, or a transformative musician performing live. Essentially, what I’m trying to say is that David Mitchell is the LeBron James of literature and “Black Swan Green” is one of the multiple championships that he’ll earn throughout his storied career.

“Black Swan Green” is unlike any of Mitchell’s other works. It doesn’t include multiple genres or travel through time like in “Cloud Atlas” and “The Bone Clocks” and doesn’t include supernatural elements like in “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet.” “Black Swan Green” is a simple narrative, about an average boy, living in a no name town. Does that setup sound familiar? Well, that’s because it’s usually the begging to every fantastical narrative discourse that’s ever graced contemporary literature. No, the protagonist Jason Taylor does not learn he’s a wizard, he cannot speak to dragons, and no, he does not have to fight for his life in a ring of death against twenty other teenagers.

Mitchell masterfully brings the reader back in time to our own retrospective childhoods through the lens of Jason Taylor. We often forget how savage a world it was at thirteen and Mitchell empathetically draws out those emotions we once felt at that age. Narrated through a loveable, intelligent, and hilarious character; Jason Taylor is the embodiment of every middle class boy in the world as he takes us through a legendary year of bullies, first kisses, and what it really means to be stuck in the middle. If you haven’t read Mitchell before, then I highly suggest this book because it grants you access into the mindset of one of the most “epically ace” authors of our lifetime.

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